Hello all. Here is another timely reminder by the Holy Father about work with the poor.
(1) Our sole intent is to seek God's glory. We as Christians help the poor out of our love for God. Our helping the poor is a reflection of God's own love for the least of our brethren. Ultimately everything goes back to God. He is at the center of our work with the poor. Thus it cannot be that Christ is marginalized or set aside, due to the desire that more partners, sponsors and money can be raised. It cannot be that Christ is no longer proclaimed, for the reason that it might turn off those who are not people of faith.
(2) Gospel charity should be hidden. Jesus himself warns us to "take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; .... when you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do .... to win the praise of others. .... But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (Mt 6:1-3). When what we do for the poor is the deliberate object of an intense marketing campaign to trumpet to the whole world the good we do, especially without even mentioning Christ, then we are losing our way.
(3) Avoid making yourself the center of attention. When there is a deliberate drive to solicit awards and to focus on human personalities as the prime movers of our work, rather than acknowledging that our successes are due to the work of the Holy Spirit, then we are losing our way.
(4) Look not to applause or to personal interest. When we look to the praises of men, or when we have our own personal agenda, especially a political one, then we have lost our way.
We must be careful, and so the Holy Father says "attentive vigilance is required, since this temptation is great."
Our work with the poor is a privilege given us by God to participate in the very mission of Jesus, to love Jesus himself in the least of our brethren, and to be able to give honor and glory to God. To set Christ aside, to no longer proclaim Christ, to use such a privilege for our own personal well-being or to serve our personal agenda, all these are a great travesty of the gospel.